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Week of July 20, 2005

Outta the Pool!
Sink or swim: It is infuriating enough that for years St. Louis Public Schools have failed to renovate Nottingham School; inside and out, the building is showing signs of prolonged neglect [Kristen Hinman, "Current Event," July 13]. Its neighbors, not SLPS employees, regularly cut the grass. But for a SLPS official to flippantly reject a proposal to unload an underutilized facility -- that just takes the cake.

Is the SLPS flush with money, or is it slashing its budget? Does the district have too many students or too many buildings? Obviously, SLPS needs to trim its fleet; many school buildings and other facilities are "for sale" but without any reasonable prospects of being sold. If SLPS sought to create win-win resolutions to its inherent financial straits, then a good starting point might be from grass-roots groups within the city.

Changes in the mission for Nottingham School have been as prevalent as police at a school board meeting. Nottingham School has not been used in the manner for which it was built (neighborhood school) since before the invention of the minivan. The vocational rehabilitation program that SLPS planning supervisor Martin Braeske crows about could be housed anywhere, preferably in a facility more specifically suited for the mission.

Speaking of Braeske, who quipped that neighbors want to create a country club in the city: He doesn't even live here. He lives in University City, where he can walk to the swimming pool in Heman Park or the natatorium. In addition, U. City is planning its own brand-new, state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot pool and activity center. No word on whether Braeske is a member of this country club. It is probably no wonder that one with such an insular point of view supervises planning for our school district.
Brian T. McCarthy
St. Louis Hills

Blind Judgment
Hindsight is 20/20: I don't know where Mike Seely gets his ideas [Blind Phyllis, July 13], but I have watched Little Lord Fauntleroy several times, and there is nothing gaytastic about it. It is a simple story about life in the nineteenth century, about how men were the end-all and be-all of everything -- thus, the removal of the grandson from the mother. However, it finally evens out, once the grandfather gets his head out of his...hmm. Maybe you should, too!
Sarah Clarkson

Lab Work
Meth-y situation: In "Too Many Cooks" [July 6], Malcolm Gay really avoided the main reason the meth problem is so bad, especially in Jefferson County. The real problem is the ineptness of these rural police departments. I have recently moved into Jefferson County and have been astounded by how useless the sheriff's department is. I tried to report a meth lab near my home and called every day for over a week. After leaving many voice messages, I was called by a detective two weeks later. By this time, the smell and, most likely, the meth was gone. One officer even turned in a false police report when covering an accident I was involved in, and Sheriff Boyer would do nothing about it, even when approached by a commissioner twice to correct it. Another factor is the officers not obeying the physical requirements of the job; some are almost 400 pounds. I'd like to remind you that just a couple months ago they were "pinned down" for over four hours by what turned out to be kids target shooting in their backyard. These guys make Barney Fife look like Supercop.
Name withheld by request

Lame 8
Hail the Ayatollah of Rock: How right you are ["We Aren't the World," June 29]. Couldn't have said it better myself. I think you should do a follow-up article as well, with specific comments on the Live 8 artists. If you witnessed Will Smith's "A person dies every three seconds, snap your fingers along with me" speech, you will.
Jamie Walkenhorst
St. Peters

Got Game?
The Riverfront Times is looking for an articulate joystick jockey to write an online column for our group of eleven weekly newspapers. An ability to distill the essential elements of newly released videogames without resorting to technobabble -- and without bowing to industry hype -- is a must. Also useful: an ability to appreciate and explain gaming's role in pop culture. A sense of humor is required; bad breath is optional. Interested parties should send a cover letter, résumé and two sample columns of 500 words apiece to:

Andy Van De Voorde
Executive Associate Editor
New Times Newspapers
969 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203

No phone calls, please.

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